BBP to open India's first dedicated leopard safari

BBP to open India's first dedicated leopard safari

This could delight many animal lovers in the city. The Bannerghatta Biological Park, just 20 km from Bengaluru, will open the country's first dedicated leopard safari.

Park authorities have begun laying the trail and fences for the safari, for which the idea was mooted in 2014. It is coming up near the sloth bear and carnivore safaris.

The BBP has planned a Rs 20-crore budget for the trail to come up over 20 acres.

Bannerghatta is home to 30 leopards, including cats bred in captivity, those rescued and relocated to the park. Till now, four wild cats are kept in the zoo area for public viewing.

Since the zoo and forest management rules say that wild leopards rescued and relocated should not be displayed in the viewing area, the safari will only contain 20 cats.

Roof chained

Visitors will be taken on the safari by buses and jeeps to view the leopards, the same as how they have been viewing lions and tigers in the park. The only difference about this safari would be the chaining of the roof, which, according to the the park administration, is necessary as leopards can jump out of their fences, like a cat rescued from the Vibgyor School in Whitefield did in 2016.

So far, the BBP has earmarked Rs 7.06 crore worth of construction work to build a 1,100-m perimeter wall, a 200-m chain-linked fence, internal blacktop pathways, drainage and two animal enclosure units, for which they obtained initial approval from the public works department and zoo authority of Karnataka.

"We're hoping to finish the construction by March 2019," BBP executive director R Gokul said, adding that fresh tenders for the next set of construction will be floated and finalised soon.

Anxious that the Assembly elections could delay the tender process, the park administration is moving the files quickly to the PWD to make sure work orders for the pending construction is issued before March.

The administration is also concerned about the logistics. "Since it is an elephant corridor, workers should be moved out of the forest before sunset," Gokul said. "We'll also have to deploy guards for their safety," he added.


On the cat trail

* Safari coming up near the sloth bear, carnivore safaris

* Rs 20-crore budget for the trail to come up over 20 acres

* 20 leopards to be displayed in the safari

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